First, let me clarify what ASC stands for: Autism Spectrum Condition. I woke up the day after my unofficial diagnosis and felt all at once elated and incredibly angry. The thought that spurred the elation was being a really fabulous Autist instead of a failed neurotypical. The thought that spurred anger was “Autism Spectrum Disorder.” For once in my life I feel like I don’t have a darned thing wrong with me (that doesn’t mean there are no struggles) and yet I have a “disorder.” That same day I saw a speech by Simon Baron Cohen that discussed the benefits of calling it ASC instead of ASD. I like it. I’m running with it.
Then we get to the sisterhood part…almost immediately after my diagnosis I read Jen’s blog over at Wild Sister about coming out of the Autism closet. In that post, Jen said, “I really want to connect with fellow Aspies. Also, if you know of any awesome resources, books, communities, events, or peeps involved in the Aspergers or Autism Spectrum world, send ‘em my way.” So I took her advice and I reached out, telling her how thankful I was for her post, her openness and that I’d love to be one of her peeps. As we talked more, we discussed the great NEED for a “safe place” for Autistic women to be educated, empowered and heard. Over a short time we came to decide that we could fill that need with an Autistic Women’s Collective. We joined hands with one more super strong, amazing woman named Silver, entrepreneur extraordinaire and this collective is coming to life.
The importance of all this is that we are made for connection. I can tell you from experience that when an Aspergirl wanders through life without a sisterhood, it is a lonely life. I can look back and see a multitude of ways that my family and friends helped me become who I am today, but I know with a sisterhood of girls/women who “got it” I could be so much more authentically and unapologetically ME. How many other Autistic women and girls are out there just struggling to stay afloat? How many others wonder what on earth is wrong with them? It’s time for that to come to an end. In this age of internet connectivity and information, there’s no reason for people to feel so alone or so unsure. It’s time we came together and built a community safe for all of us to discover our bests and be encouraged. We also need a place where we can discuss our struggles and frustrations, because a lot of times it seems people just don’t take us very seriously. We deeply desire to be great daughters, sisters, friends, employees, girlfriends, wives, mothers, entrepreneurs, etc but sometimes that means we need special accommodations. A community by us, for us will be able to put all these amazing minds together and make us better able to reach these goals despite our struggles.
In case I’ve rambled on and lost you on the point…I will give a personal example. Last night a new, dear friend came over. We are getting to know each other because she knows I’ve been willing to become a voice in the wilderness for the female Autistic community. She and I laughed and talked about our quirks and “stimmed” in front of each other and giggled over apologies that weren’t necessary, because we were speaking the same language. This morning I was a happier, more secure person. I was a better mom with more patience and love. Did we talk about anything life-changing? no. Did she call me out on the carpet for my recent bout of depression? no. We simply HEARD each other and sometimes, being heard, seen and *known* is all we need. We autistic women are some of the strongest people you will ever meet, but many of us live in constant guilt or fear because of our past experiences with people. I believe that when we take the time to build the confidence and knowledge of Autistic women, we will see world changers born. Even better will be if we can capture the moms of girls on the spectrum while they are young, so they never have to develop the debilitating guilt so many of us are familliar with!
So with pride and excitement and complete and total humility, I introduce you to the Autistic Women’s Collective. Our community will open on May 1st (I’ll write more on that date later!) We’d love to have you with us! Check out the link and get signed up to recieve updates. And while you’re at it, leave a note in the comments about what you think would most help you in a community like this? What do you think you would most benefit from?
https://www.facebook.com/events/492811344164240/ (this is the event page for the grand opening)
See the link for Autistic Women’s Collective above for the press release to sign up for the newsletters and up-to-the-minute updates on progress and opening! And thanks so much for being here/there!